Section Commander: Capt Archie Holford Walker
C19 Clan Leslie (No 705 Male). Lead tank with C20 and C22, in support of attack by 6 Div near Martinpuich. Stub axle damaged on route from Chimpanzee Valley to start point and did not take part in the action; ASC crew moved forward and refitted the steering wheels from Murphy’s tank. Whilst this was underway, Archie returned to the Chimpanzee valley base and sought fuel for Henriques’ vehicle, which was delivered forward by his brother, the Coy Commander.
· Capt (Bruce) Archie Holford-Walker was born Jun - Sep 93 at Hartley Witney, Hampshire, the third son of son of Brig Edgar Holford Walker (late RA) and his second wife Maria. Commissioned into 3rd (Reserve) Bn KSLI as 2Lt (15th Aug 14); deployed to France in Feb 15 and served with 2 KSLI. He was wounded during a counter-attack during the battle of St Julian (part of 2nd Battle of Ypres). Attached to the Heavy Branch MGC from Apr 16, he deployed to France on 24 Aug 16. After the action at Flers, on 18 Oct , he was tasked to lead a section of 2 tanks, the commanders being Capt Lord Rodney and Capt Bennewith from A Coy plus with crews from 1 Section. On 22/3 Oct these two tanks, plus one commanded by Eliott moved us to Beassart. On 11 Nov, he again was tasked to set up an assault, with Lt Bates, but this did not take place. Engaged to be married on 17 Dec 17; he married Nea Anna Louise Grimshaw on 17 Jul 18 at Holy Trinity Church, Guildford. Later appointed as T/Maj in 12th Bn Tank Corps 2 Nov 18. Changed name by deed poll to Bruce Holford Walker 1 Mar 19. He transferred to the Regular Army and was appointed Adjt in 19th (Lothian and Borders Horse) Armd Car Coy TF 3 Sep 20. He was the organiser of the first C Bn all ranks dinner nights and one of the first members of the Old Comrades Association. Relinquished the post of Adjt on 11 Sep 23, he was appointed Capt RTC on 7 Apr 24; seconded to India Army and appointed as Asst to Col RTC Indian Army HQ on 21 Nov 27; restored to RTC establishment and appointed GSO3 on 2 Nov 1931. Promoted Maj RTC on 27 Nov 1936. Living at Fairfax Cottage, Church Circle Farnborough Hants (listed in phone book 1939), he reached the rank of Lt Col during World War 2 and retired, with the honoury rank of Colonel on 23 Jul 46. He died on 5th October 1951 and his remains were cremated at Southampton.
· Gnr Robert Tate was the eldest of seven children; none others served in the Great War but his youngest brother served with the Tanks in WW2. The family home was in Sunderland. Robert volunteered to join Army in early 1916; his friends having all done so. Training as a mechanic, he travelled to Leeds to join the RFC but, as a single man, was not accepted as “RFC ground crew were considered as non-combatants!” –as a result only married men were accepted. On his way back to Sunderland, he bought a copy of the Motor Cyclist, saw an advertisement about the MMGS and applied to join. He travelled to Coventry where he undertook a series of test with about 70 others; only 27 passed and all were immediately sent by train to Bisley. He undertook MG training (Vickers, Lewis and Hotchkiss) for two months before being posted to Elveden. On posting he was issued with the leather tank helmet. On arrival the crews initially trained on Little Willie, then Mother then the service tanks (which he described as Marks 5s). Training included cross-country driving and night drives using compasses; this latter activity failed due to the inability of the inboard compasses to cope with the deflection of metals from other tanks. He was present at a number of demonstrations for dignitaries including Lloyd-George and drove King George V during one visit to Elveden over a particularly bumpy ground. He makes much of the need for secrecy and operational security. He deployed to France on 16 Aug 16, about four months after he joined the army (he must therefore have gone to Bisley in late Apr 1916). He trained at Yvrench before moving forward for the action on 15 Sep; he states that his wheels were blown off as he went into action. He continued to serve with C Bn and was at Cambrai where he saw his friend Harry Tiffin’s tank destroyed (C53?). He later drove Whippets and was injured by mustard gas in the last three weeks of the war. He was in hospital at the time of the Armistice. Survived and lodged memoirs in Liddle collection of Leeds University. [TATE, R (Tapes 1677/444).
C20 (Tank No 523 –Female). One of three tanks in support of 6th Div (with C19 and C22) tasked to clear the Quadrilateral to the north east of Ginchy. Reached assembly point at 7.00 am but broke down after travelling 100m. Later repaired, it moved forward (in concert with Murphy) and arrived at 1200 for next attack. The briefing and instructions were inadequate but the tank got well forward to the third objective before it returned to refuel.
· Lt George Macpherson. Son of George and Hilda Mary Macpherson of "The Lloyd House" near Wolverhampton; born 7 Mar 96. Educated at Lockers Park School at Hemel Hampstead and then Winchester College, where he was head boy and a member of the first College football team. Destined for the ordained ministry, he volunteered and was commissioned into E Kent Regt 15 Oct 15 and was attached to MGC with Henriques in Apr 16. Deployed to France on 24 Aug 16, he was fatally injured on 15 Sep in circumstances which remain unclear. He was taken to 34 CCS at Grovetown Station but DOW the same day aged 20. Buried at Grove Town Cemetery, Meaulte Plot IC19 and commemorated at St. Bartholomew's Church, Penn in Staffordshire. Memorial service at Glass Parish Church as his family were also living at Edinglassie Lodge. Extensive report of the event in the Huntly Express.
· 32257 Gnr William Taylor Dawson – home town was Boston poss born Apr – Jun 1888; two brothers served with the Coldstream guards. A regular reader of the “Motor Cycle “magazine, he answered an advertisement and undertook an oral examination at Coventry. He was enlisted on 2 Feb 16 and was transferred to the HSMGC in May 16 – note not all MMGS wished to transfer, and deployed to France on 24 Aug 16. After the initial actions, he continued to serve with C Coy and then C Bn. He fought at Arras as part of No 9 Coy taking part in the assault on Tilloy – Dawson being the only battle-experienced man in his tank. Having taken the village, the tank became ditched on the outskirts and was then struck by Germany artillery; one round passing between the driver and commander. Incredibly the shell did not explode and the crew were able to get the tank out – Dawson taking the lead. Eventually the tank reached Fuechy and stopped overnight. The next day, they moved towards Monchy Le Preux but the tank was targeted by German artillery. One shell hit the left hand sponson and those close by were killed; the remainder including Dawson were injured. He was sent to a dressing station and then by ambulance train to hospital in Rouen. After recovering, he was sent to a rest camp at Etaples and then returned to No 9 Coy. He was met on arrival by his section commander (Capt Henderson who had commanded C23 at High Wood) and was immediately reallocated as a driver to Lt GG “Johnny” Walker . He fought at 3rd Ypres, when 9th Coy fought towards the Frezenberg. For his action on 31 Jul he was awarded a tank corps parchment and was told, at its presentation by Brig Elles, that he deserved a medal but the Corps had not been issued sufficient. He was rebadged Tank Corps (200461) then promoted Lance Corporal in early August then Cpl on 19 Sep. He fought at Cambrai, again with 9 Coy, his section fighting its way past Bleak house on to wards the fourth German lines near Masnieres. His tank (C46-Challenger) was the lead tank of the section which assaulted Fontaine Notre Dame; Henderson being on board. It was the only one which was not destroyed. Dawson, along with a number of crews, was told they would be sent on leave at the end of Nov (their first leave since their deployment in Aug 16) but they were told, as the Germans counter-attacked, that only officers could be spared. Eventually Lt Victor Smith intervened on their behalf and Dawson was released to go home. He returned to 9th Coy for Christmas In the winter, the Bn was unable to undertake any action, due to the cold, but hey were warned to prepare to be retrained as Whippet crews. Dawson, who had been recommended for a commission, was due to leave the Bn in Feb 18 but was taken ill and hospitalised at Meulte for three weeks before being returned to the UK on 5 Mar 18. He was initially trained at Wareham before undertaking a second term of training at Worthy Down. Subsequently commissioned by the Armistice and later recorded story in manuscript – held at Tank Museum archives.
C21 (Tank No 740 – male). Originally one of the tanks kept as part of the Corps Reserve, initially at the Briqueterie then Trones Wood, but moved forward on the night of 14 Sep to support a new infantry assault planned for 1.30 pm. It reached the RV at the Guillemont crossroads but could not move forward. Vincent sent signal; “My tank No 749 is completely ditched near crossroads, cannot moved at all. Have abandoned same and am in a refuge in a shellhole”. The tank was again used, on 25 Sep, during attacks in the Morval, Quadrilateral and the Bouleaux wood area, this time commanded by Lt Victor Smith.
· Lt Harold Hubert Vincent, Born c 81. Commissioned MMGS 14 Apr 16, Possible marriage to a Miss Nicholls at St Pancras London Apr - Jun 16. T/Lt MGC wef 1 Jul 16, Deployed to France on 17 Aug 16. He served with R Irish Regt as Lt from 31 Jan 17, T/Lt HH Vincent is removed from the Army, the King having no further occasion for his services as an Officer - 14 Aug 18. Applied for medals in Apr 22 - address given as 22 Bonchurch St in North Kensington. London. Later a engineer, living in the Edgeware Rd London, he was a founder member of the sunbathing movement. This activity bought him into conflict with the London Magistrates who attempted to restrict his activities. He convicted of assaulting a police woman in August 1932, having pushed her into the Serpentine. He was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment’ “the gaoler reporting that he had a number of previous convictions for indecency concerning sun bathing”.
C22 (no 533 - female). Tasked to clear the Quadrilateral to the north east of Ginchy. Moved up in concert with C19 arriving at the start point in good time. The fuel had fallen to less than half a tank but 16 gallons were obtained by his Section Commander (Archie Holford Walker) by 2.30 am. Henriques recce the route and ground before leaving the RV at 4.00 am. Tank reached a point 500m behind the front line by 5.00 am and then stopped. By 5.45 am tank was up to the British trenches but then reversed 20m to avoiding the infantry in the area being hit by German artillery fire aimed at the tank. As tank moved up to the start point, the tank crew fired on 9th Norfolks (believing they were enemy) and created several casualties. Tank Comdr was directed on his route by a Coy Comd of 9th Norfolks and arrived on the objective at zero hrs, 500m forward of the British lines. There tank enfiladed the German objective, with machine gun fire, whilst the infantry advanced. Tank then moved north; whilst so doing, it was badly damaged by German armour piercing bullets, the crew were injured and Henriques and his driver were partially blinded. The tank withdrew once the Infantry arrived on the location, to avoid the tank being captured; however the tank was hit by German artillery fire
· 2Lt Basil Lucas Quixano Henriques. Born 17 Oct 90, the youngest son of David and Agnes Henriques, Basil was educated at Elstree and then to Locker's Park near Hemel Hempstead (as did Macpherson some years later), Harrow and University College Oxford, Henriques devoted his life to public and social care. In early 14, he founded a boys club, entitled the Oxford and St George Club, for Jewish children in the East End of London. His future wife, Rose Louise Loewe, founded similar club for girls the same year. A tall man (6 ft 3 in) he was commissioned into 3rd Bn East Kent Regt (the Buffs) and was attached to the MGC with George Macpherson on 14 Apr 16. He was married to Rose on 19 July (the Times recorded his Regt as HSMGC - and Rose's surname had been anglicised to Lowe) and deployed to France on 24 Aug 16. After the battle, he was evacuated to the UK for treatment. Having recovered from the wounds to his face and legs, and overcome severe depression, Henriques was posted to Bovington where he instructed on map reading, battle terrain and tactics. He served with G Bn and gave a lecture on his experience as a tank commander in action. He returned to active service, as a Coy Recce Officer with 19 Coy G Bn and serving doing the 3rd battle of Ypres. At the start of the action he was forward with his Coy near St Julian. Later awarded Italian Silver Medal Jan 18 for service with 7th Bn. On 16 Jan 18 as A/Capt appointed Bn Recce Offr (probably with G Bn). In 1918 he published “Prayers for Trench and base” for use by Jewish soldiers. Appointed T/Capt on 28 Oct 18. In 19, he relinquished his commission and with Rose, established St George’s Settlement Synagogue from where they ran a pioneering youth club (note: the club was opened by the local MP Clement Attlee with whom he had probably served whilst Attlee was serving with the HS MGC at Bovington). During the second world war, he continued his youth work, sleeping each night at the club. He retired in 1947 but continued his work with youth to become the vice chairman of the National Association of Boys Clubs. A JP, he was Chairman of the East London Juvenile Court from 1936 to 1955. He was awarded the CBE in 1948, for his youth work, and knighted in Jan 1955, for his lifetime of service. In 1969 he was one of the first magistrates appointed to the bench of the Motorist Court at Bow St, In Nov 1961 he had a heart attack and he died on 2 Dec 61. In his will he left funding for many charities but also to establish a scholarship for a graduate of University College Oxford to support his studies on theological and social work. In 1962 a memorial fund in his name was established to continue his work and a memorial lecture was also established. Lady Henriques (who also become a magistrate) died in 1972; the couple was childless.
· 2230 Cpl R Paterson deployed to France on 24 Aug ’16 and probably the left hand gearsman. Possibly 200532 Cpl Roger Paterson.
· 2930 Gnr Reginald Harry Fisher born Reepham Norfolk in late Mar 97, the son of George Ephraim Fisher. A butcher's assistant, he volunteered for service in early Mar 16. Attested at Norwich, volunteered the for MMGS at Coventry. Moved to Bisley on 16 Mar, approved for MMGS on 20 Mar and transferred to MGC 1 Apr. Transferred to C Coy and deployed to France on 24 Aug. Transferred to C Bn on its formation 18 Nov. Wounded during the opening days of the Battle of Arras but not evacuated. Attended gunner trg at 2 Tk Bde 6lb School from 19 to 26 May and then at the Tank Driving School at Wailly from 11 to 16 Jun. Renumbered on formation of the tank corps 200593. He was appointed LCpl on 21 Nov 17, vice LCpl Bentley wounded and can therefore assumed to have fought at Battle of Cambrai. Granted UK leave from 15 to 30 Dec 17. Remained with C Bn for the remainder of the war, serving in both heavy and light (Whippet) roles, reaching the rank of Sergeant in No 6 Coy. He moved with C Bn into Germany after the war but took Christmas leave in the UK. In Jan 19 returned to Germany and transferred to 12th Bn where he served with the BAOR. Sought release from service as he had volunteered for the duration of the war only. Correspondence between local supporter over delays to his demobilisation; enquiries set up by Tank Corps Record Office and Fisher eventually released from service Nov 19. In 1925 he was still living at the Mark Place in Reepham.
· 2932 Gnr F Raynor deployed to France on 24 Aug ’16. Possibly 200594 Pte Frank Raynor Tank Corps